Apple Computer is expected to announce plans
tomorrow night to open state-of-the-art cybercafes across the
country, starting with one in Los Angeles, CNET has learned.
The Apple Cafes are expected to let users surf the Net at high
speeds, play games, and design Web pages along with the
offerings of a full-service cafe. The stores also may sell
consumer products with Apple logos.
The deal is part of Apple's effort to license its brand name more
widely and, at the same time, promote its computer products. In
the company's eyes, cybercafes offer the perfect venue. They
are thriving through the United States and Europe as many users
find that they can to surf the Net and socialize at the same time.
Some cybercafes charge a membership fee, such as $10 per
year, and offer Net access for 18 cents per minute.
Apple is teaming up with Landmark Entertainment Group, Mega
Bytes International, and the Artists Rights Foundation to make
Landmark Entertainment, which has said it aims to be a "small
Disney," specializes in theme park projects. They have included
a "magical empire" at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, a Star Trek
attraction at the Las Vegas Hilton, a Jurassic Park attraction at
Universal Studios, and themed resorts in the Middle East and
The companies all declined comment on the venture, except to
confirm a press conference tomorrow in Beverly Hills. The
topic: "What Apple is cooking up now."
Competition will be stiff, however. A similar cybercafe called
Cybersmith, as well as independent cybercafes, are opening
throughout the country with many similar features.
The cafes could resemble a "wired" Hard Rock Cafe or Planet
Hollywood. The moneymaking potential is great. At
Cybersmith, the core clientele is 25- to 34-year-olds; 80 percent
of them have home PCs and 40 percent are online. They are a
primary target for CD-ROM publishers, software, video game
makers, and ISPs.
"The future masters of technology will have to be lighthearted and intelligent. The machine easily masters the grim and the dumb." - Marshall McLuhan 1969
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